In most cases, doctors will recommend medication before they recommend a surgical option. However, surgery may help patients who don’t respond to medications, or whose pain is too severe to be managed by them alone. A surgical sympathectomy occurs when a surgeon clamps or cuts the sympathetic nerve chain, which can be found around your spine. It’s a significant portion of the nervous system because it controls your fight-or-flight response. When the surgeon clamps the chain, nerve signals are prevented from passing through. Many different conditions can be treated by a sympathectomy, with reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome being one of them. It’s a permanent procedure only used as a last resort when other treatment options haven’t been effective. Following a sympathectomy, an individual’s brain no longer has the ability to send such severe pain signals to the affected portion of the body.
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